DREAMS OF SCHEMES TO COME

Saudi Arabia 2020 | DIGITAL ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

Working with its parent company, Saudi Electricity Company, Dawiyat Integrated's wholesale license allows it to offer bundled services to licensed providers across the country.

Ahmed Sindi

What role does Dawiyat Integrated play in the Saudi ICT sector?

Dawiyat Integrated Telecommunication Company holds the only license in Saudi Arabia as an independent wholesale service provider. We provide telecoms infrastructure and access to every licensed telecommunication company as a wholesale and neutral network. This model allows us to build the telecoms infrastructure first and sell it several times, giving telecommunications companies the benefit of cutting off capital investments and focusing on services and VAS, which is an efficient way to deploy capital, especially in extensive projects like the roll-out of 5G. We are fully owned by the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and monetize the government's substantial investment by providing electricity to more than 13,000 villages and cities across Saudi Arabia. Within this scope, SEC is building an extremely large, 75,000-km fiber-optic network. Overall, Dawiyat Integrated will enable not only significant growth into the telecommunications sector, but also significant growth and the enablement of huge creative projects like smart networks for electricity, smart water meters, and smart city initiatives. In 2019, we look forward to connecting close to 300,000 additional homes by fiber, while maintaining a focus on strategic partnerships and substantial investments that will place Dawiyat Integrated on the regional map.

What will be the main implications of the roll-out of 5G?

5G is an extremely important technology that will significantly change in every economic sector. SEC has built and connected towers, and with our wholesale license, we will be able to offer bundled services to licensed providers. The market will enter into even higher competition, though hopefully our activity will encourage companies to spend on the customer experience and creative services, while at the same time reducing the cost for end-users. When 5G comes, more towers will be needed, as well as more fiber, data centers, and connectivity, so that we can leverage company assets and invest in building up the infrastructure that will be shared by others.

What is your assessment of the Kingdom's digital transformation?

We are building state-of-the-art infrastructure all over the kingdom. In each city this will be opened up to all the service providers on an equal basis so that they can compete based on offerings without infrastructural over development. These are aligned with the Kingdom's digital transformation, which will propel the Saudi economy and increase its competitiveness in substantial ways across different sectors. In the medium term, and in alignment with our strategic telecom partners, we seek to bring substantial international OTT players to establish their hub and services here to help co-invest in major network connectivity. Long term, the future is extremely bright, especially in terms of human capacity. Human development will also rapidly increase because of the demographic structure of the Kingdom. Around 60% of the population is under the age of 30; these are all creative young men and women who will come up with businesses and business models that we never dreamed possible.

What role can the Saudi private sector play in this digital transformation?

SMEs will have access to fiber and high-speed internet, which will enable them to buy creative services from cloud-service providers, erasing the need for expensive computing equipment. This is a major enabler for SMEs, as they can get all the business support for a fraction of the price. They can manage their accounts, recruit people, and have access to the latest and greatest technologies, enabling them to link with whoever they want worldwide. This will change competitiveness and the competitive forces: companies with limited budgets will have access to the latest and greatest resources in the world.